This collection focuses on the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington. It includes interior and exterior views of the Cathedral, in both color and black and white. The photographs illustrate the cathedral in various stages of its construction. Early photographs show the cathedralâ��s skeleton and also reveal stone carvers and masons at work on panels and arches. The interior views expose the cathedralâ��s architectural details within various parts of the cathedral. Some of Whitehouseâ��s other churches in the Northwest are also included in the collection.
When Harold C. Whitehouse (1884-1974) arrived in Spokane in 1907, he had little more than a desire to move West. He had worked as a draftsman in Boston, but had no formal architectural training. In 1908, he formed an architectural firm with partner George Keith and married Catherine Cox Weston. He soon established himself in the community and became active in the All Saints Episcopal Church. Bishop Wells quickly approached Whitehouse with the idea of building a cathedral. Whitehouse became so committed to the inspiration for a cathedral that he left Spokane in 1911 and entered the architectural program at Cornell, where he completed the program in two years. In 1913, he returned to Spokane and formed a partnership with Ernest Price, another Cornell graduate, with whom he remained partners until Priceâ��s retirement in 1964. Whitehouse and Price designed over 2400 commissions throughout the Northwest. In addition to the churches, they designed schools, government buildings, homes and businesses including buildings on the campuses of the University of Idaho, the University of Washington, Washington State University and Whitworth.
In 1923, Whitehouse traveled through Europe with a group of architects and studied cathedrals. When he returned, the church purchased the property and began construction of St. Johnâ��s Cathedral in Spokane in 1925. The first portion of the cathedral was completed in four years and additional work was done until 1957. Whitehouse worked closely with sculptors, masons and woodworkers from throughout the Northwest to produce meticulously detailed work. The Special Collections at JFK Library hold the papers and drawings that Whitehouse created for the cathedral and the University of Oregon holds another collection of Whitehouseâ��s papers. For more information on the cathedral, see St. John's Cathedral.
Biographical information adapted from Sally Byrne Woodbridgeâ��s Building through time, the life of Harold C. Whitehouse, 1884-1974. Portola Valley, Calif.: American Lives Endowment, 1981.